Every summer, as a part of SLI summer session, each grade attends a different field trip. The 7th graders go to the Exploratorium; the 8th graders visit the California Academy of Sciences; the 9th graders explore the Computer History Museum; and the 10th grades tour NASA Ames Center. And for the first time this year, 11th grades got a curated visit and tour of Stanford University, as an introduction to the concept of college tours and their education goals post-graduation.

It felt really honest and genuine and a great outlook of Stanford from viewpoints we [could] relate with.

In the morning of SLI’s visit, students had the opportunity to speak with one of four speakers:

Stanford Medicine’s Diane Tseng, MD PhD, Oncology: Dr. Tseng talked with students about how she got to where she is, her experiences along the way, and her research in medicine and oncology/cancer treatment. She also helped to lead a discussion about different career paths in medicine.

Music Professor Stephen M. Sano: Professor Sano discussed his experience in music as a professor, musician, and conductor, why he thinks the arts are important, and his view of music’s relationship with STEM. He also gave students an inside look at Stanford’s state-of-the-art Bing Concert Hall and played some Hawaiian slack key guitar for the students as well!

Stanford Solar Car Lead Vehicle Engineer, Sarah Spaugh: Ms Spaugh talked about her experience as a mechanical engineering student and with the Solar Car team. She also gave a tour of the Solar Car shop. Every two years, the Solar Car team designs, builds and races a solar car across the Australian Outback in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

XLab Researcher Dr. Caitlin Chapin: Dr. Caitlin Chapin is a post-doctoral fellow in Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautics & Astronautics. She talked about her experiences as a engineering student and teacher, and her work in the XLab research group. The EXtreme Environment Microsystems Laboratory (XLab) focuses on the development of micro- and nano-systems for operation within extreme harsh environments, such as deep space systems, hypersonic aircrafts, combustion monitoring, and subsurface monitoring.

The speaker [Dr. Chapin] was able to relate to our anxiety and give us tips for what to do and not to do

Over lunch, SLI students got to speak with current Stanford students about the challenging and exciting aspects of college, the application process, and different education paths available.

After lunch, students took a traditional group tour of the campus, getting to see and hear about all the distinctive opportunities and characteristics of Stanford. Every student walked away with new knowledge, whether it was about the application process, a specific area of study, possible career paths, or any number of other aspects of college life.

I got to see what a college looks like in person, which was quite a unique experience for me.


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